We've been in Savannah, GA helping Calvary Chapel Savannah with their church move. We deconstructed the warehouse that they had been in for over fifteen years! We then began to build out the new church with help from some reliable friends (we affectionately call them "repeat offenders") and the church body from CCSav, who showed up to serve at every opportunity. We were making good progress when we ran into some snags with the city. The project was put on hold while the details were worked out and is still on hold.
While here, we were able to minister to some folks at church as well as a couple people in the swamp where we're living. One of our neighbors came to church with us yesterday. She's had a really rough life so please keep her in your prayers (Tracey). Another neighbor, Sharon, has cancer and several other difficult ailments. Mary Jo has been able to encourage and pray with her and her husband. Both Tracey and Sharon say they have seen the Lord working in their lives.
At this point, it's still a waiting game with the church. In the mean time, we've been able to do a lot of much-needed maintenance on some of our vehicles and trailers. The bunkhouse needed much work, including furnace repairs, water tank repairs, and redoing the roof. We were able to finish all of that and we are hoping and praying that nothing else goes bad! There seems to always be maintenance needed on our 5th wheel, which is expected since it is almost fifteen years old and we live in it full time! I've also been in the process of redoing the tool trailer. As we grow in what we do, our tool and hardware needs change, things need to be replaced, fixed, etc. We've also had wheel, tire, and axle issues since we purchased the unit and unfortunately, we found out too late that it was built below specs that I had requested and paid for. We need to get the tool trailer to a friend in Missouri who has a trailer/tire/axle place and has been able to resolve some of our past issues. We're planning on getting it to him sometime while we're in Arkansas, but for now it will have to wait. I'm just about finished with it for now except for re-caulking the roof and loading it up to move.
There have also been some minor issues with our vehicles and a few major ones. Our diesel sprang a leak in one of the fuel tanks, and the pull-behind hitch was damaged years before we acquired it and wasn't the size we needed. Both of those were replaced with the help of Gerald, Alvin, and Nick from CC Savannah this past weekend. We also installed an auxiliary gas tank in it for when we go into areas that don't have any fuel. I need to find a new tool box that goes over the "L" shaped tank and get that installed before we head out. I also have a few electrical issues that I need to track down before we go on the diesel and the V10. Both of the other vehicles don't have anything major, so we'll probably just do our normal pre-flight check with them before we take off for Arkansas.
Also during this time, both of our kids, Nick (and wife Brittany) and Melissa (and husband JJ) purchased homes! We were blessed to be here to help them out with some repairs/maintenance. We were so glad that the Lord arranged our time here to include helping the kids! It was also a huge blessing to get to spend more time with them as we usually only see them for short periods and time is always limited. We were able to baby sit Cyrus and Everett and actually had sleep overs at our house! Hoping to get at least one more in before we go!
Leaving Savannah and not being able to finish the church where our son Nick is the pastor is one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. If it was anyone else, we probably would have left to do disaster relief sooner, or at least gone to TN and done our maintenance at Doug and Sam's. Nick and I had lunch shortly after we were contacted about going to AR, and Nick said that he knows that God has called us to do disaster relief and while they have thoroughly enjoyed having us here, he knows we need to do what The LORD has called us to do, just as we know that they need to do what The LORD has called them to do. Brittany is going to have a baby girl towards the end of July and we would have loved to be here for that, but we know that The LORD will open the doors for that meeting at just the right time!
And now the Arkansas story! I received a call from Pastor Ben of CC Sandhills in North Carolina. While we have never met in person, we communicated many times during Hurricane Florence relief last year. His community had been flooded and his church was wanting to help out. We were able to supply them with some air mattresses that had been donated to us and were able to help get them a semi-trailer full of grocery items to distribute. Ben's former assistant pastor, Chris, had moved back to Arkansas about two years ago. When the flooding started in Chris's community, he contacted Ben about the "disaster guy" that had helped them last year. Ben asked if I'd give Chris a call to at least give him some guidance on what to do.
I called and talked to Chris and we began praying about deploying to help their church minister to the Ft Smith area. After then being released by Nick from our commitment to help CC Savannah, we decided to start the bug-out process!
Calvary Frontlines will become the new Camp Calvary as Chris has asked us to run the relief efforts for them. The church is smaller in size but large in their desire to help their community during this time and we're looking forward to serving alongside of them! The city experienced historic flood levels reaching well past the "500" year stage. Only homes within the "100" year stage are required by their mortgage company to have flood insurance. Estimates are anywhere from five hundred to one thousand flood-damaged homes in the area with around only twenty-five percent of them having insurance.
Flood relief seems to be a good fit for our ministry. With the professional training we've received almost from our beginning (almost fifteen years ago, and the training continues to this day!), the hundreds of homes we've remediated, and the need for help that a flood creates because so many are under-insured, it seems The LORD keeps placing us in this arena to do what He has prepared us to do.
We'll begin remediating homes once we land and get set up and have volunteers available to help. I'll probably spend a lot of time assessing homes and more than likely even help some insured homeowners through the nightmare they are likely to experience with their insurance companies, again something that The LORD has prepared us to do. We'll be ready for overnight volunteers/teams as soon as we get set up, which should be by the 21st, but we are still figuring out the logistics. If you're interested in volunteering with us please see the Join Us page on our website to find out what we require to volunteer with us and start praying about coming out and helping. Click here for the Join Us page!
Our plan is to once again stay long-term and build relationships with our new neighbors, the homeowners we help, and Calvary Frontlines, sharing Christ's love to all we come in contact with. Please cover us in prayer for everything from traveling mercies to receptive hearts and open doors to minister.
When we move past the initial clean-up stage we more than likely will help with some rebuilds as The LORD leads. We've already discussed this with Chris, and he and his church want to be part of the recovery efforts long-term. While in rebuild stage, we will work on one home at a time and limit the number of volunteers to what is needed on one home to ensure the work we do is as unto The LORD and the best we can, rather than spread ourselves too thin. This model has worked the best for us in the past and we feel that this is what God wants us to do.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers, that we would continue to share the Love of Jesus with all those we come in contact with and that our transition to Ft Smith would go smoothly and that we would settle into our new "town" and make some new lasting relationships and get plugged in quickly as if we had been there our whole lives!
As always there is lots to do and all of this takes money, so if you feel led to financially support Calvary Relief, please click the link below.
Curt & Mary Jo